Health chiefs issue urgent warning to prevent drowning deaths and accidents
The Ministry of Health has issued a series of recommendations to avoid drowning and injuries in aquatic environments. It also warns of the risks posed by some behaviours around beaches, swimming pools and the like, as well as the importance of complying with the COVID regulations.
“Drowning is the third leading cause of death from
external causes, that is, those produced by accidents, violence, environmental
events, poisonings and other adverse effects,” a spokesperson warned.
“On the other hand, serious injuries can also occur in the aquatic
environment, such as head injuries and spinal cord injuries. These are
generally caused by actions such as trying to dive from a great height, not
checking the depth of the water or jumping too close to the curb in pools. The
victims are mostly young men.”
In 2018, there were 483 deaths in Spain due to accidental
drowning (378 men and 105 women), breaking the downward trend of previous
years. In addition, in 2019 there were 60 people hospitalised as a result of
injuries caused by jumping or jumping headfirst into the water, six of them due
to spinal cord injury.
The best prevention in the case of minors is vigilance,
teaching them to swim and educating them to respect safety regulations.
“Drownings occur quickly and silently, most of the time
the victim had been out of sight for less than five minutes,” said the
spokesman. “Therefore, keep an eye on them at all times when they are in
or playing near water and do not delegate this responsibility to an older
child. Also, never leave a baby or young child alone in an inflatable bathtub
or pool. A baby can drown in just a few inches of water.”
*Make sure the pool you go to with your family has a
lifeguard. Remember that the supervision of your minor children is your
responsibility, and that of the lifeguard is rescue and water rescue when
*Make sure that your young children cannot freely access the
*It is very dangerous to run along the edge of the pool or
play to push people. You could slip and hit the edge or injure others.
*If you cannot swim, or cannot swim well, wear a life jacket
for bathing and always wear it to practise a water sport. Inflatable floats are
*On the beach, respect the flags. Never bathe if it is red,
and with yellow it is dangerous: bathe only up to the waist and with caution.
In addition, bathe in beaches with surveillance and always respect the
instructions of the lifeguards. On the other hand, do not overestimate your
physical condition or ability to swim: in the sea, if you get tired or have
difficulty returning, swim on your back, moving your legs only until you get
close to the shore. Finally, if you feel like a current is dragging you, swim
parallel to the beach and, once you have left the beach, swim towards shore.
*Do not bathe in areas where bathing is prohibited.
*Always bathe in company, particularly if it is an elderly
person or with a health problem.
*Bathing at night is very dangerous, if something were to
happen to you, no one would be able to see you.
*Remember that alcohol consumption reduces your ability to
react to danger or can lead to risky behavior.
*Diving headfirst from a great height, such as bridges,
trees, or balconies, can cause very serious injuries. Before diving, make sure
there is enough depth and there are no obstacles. Especially in the case of
*Mats and other inflatable objects should be used with
*Get out of the water right away if you feel cold or tired.
It should be remembered that in bathing areas the risk
associated with COVID-19 is as high as that of any other exterior. Therefore,
the following indications must be observed:
Avoid crowds and maintain an interpersonal distance of at
least 1.5 metres between non-cohabitants.
Use of a hygienic mask when interpersonal distance cannot be
maintained. When swimming, t will not be necessary to use it.
Maintain adequate respiratory hygiene: cough or sneeze into
the elbow or use disposable paper tissues, which will be deposited in an
appropriate container, performing subsequent hand hygiene.
Follow the instructions of the authorities or facilities
regarding sectorisation, queues, shifts, prior appointment, etc …
If any person presents symptoms during their stay in a
bathing area, they should put on a mask, leave the space in which they are, and
contact their health center, the autonomous community reference telephone
number or 112 if they have serious symptoms. .